The Three Shades (after Rodin)

Mixed Media, December 2020
Original. 40 x 50″ 

The Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco hosts more than 90 original August Rodin sculptures ranging from the Thinker to The Kiss. The Three Shades (1886) figures shown in this painting were originally placed above his sculpture titled, the Gates of Hell (1880-1917). Rodin wanted people to be overwhelmed frontally by the massive gates, contemplating the experience of hell that Dante describes in his allegorical poem titled, Inferno. Upon entering the Inferno (Hell), Virgil would guide the viewer through the nine concentric circles inside.

In this image, I wanted to visualize what the experience of being in the presence of the Three Shades would feel like by combining August Rodin’s vision with the epic poem by Dante Alighieri. The original theme of Rodin’s Gates of Hell masterpiece was playing upon an inscription at the entrance of the gates saying, “Abandon every hope all ye who enter here.” Each of the three identical figures irreverently dances around the central entrance to the inferno mockingly looking down at the viewer with indifference. They represent the  transformation of three sinners whom Dante encounters in the Seventh Circle of hell where “murderers, suicides and homosexuals” would be.



Legion of Honor Museum:



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Dimensions 40 × 50 in
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